1. Engage with your guests pre-arrival and post-departure
As a point of fact, the guests’ journey with your hotel starts before they are at your doorstep.
Now you’ll ask me, HOW?
Usually, the guests search for your hotel on Google, OTAs or even metasearch engines. To dig deeper, they look for your website. Having said that, it is crucial for you to have a hotel website. (If you don’t have one, get it today!)
When they land on your website, their experience with your hotel begins from that very moment.
In the hospitality industry, the first impression is the last impression!
Is your website important to improve guest experience?
Now, this a question most of you might ask.
A simple answer to it is: YES!
For a detailed answer, keep reading.
The look and feel of your hotel website play a significant role in your guest experience. So you need to make sure your website has all the required information along with your hotel’s high-resolution photos and videos.
Consider displaying some ongoing deals or offers on your website to keep your visitors glued.
If they’re pleased with your website, they will find options to book with you. To make the most out of such scenarios, integrating a booking engine with your hotel website will help you provide a simplified booking process to your visitors.
If they have any queries, then they can contact you. In this case, yourquick response to their inquiries will improve their experience with you. (Certainly, you DO NOT want to keep them waiting. Neither at your front desk nor on your website.)
Explore the options of having a website chatbot to answer your guest inquiries and solve them right there. This will save your time and efforts, and even increase your website conversions.
Now, comes the pre-arrival engagement with your guest.
Once they’ve booked with your hotel, send them personalized email and messages, thanking them for choosing your hotel. Apart from this, you can ask them about room upgrades, keep them up-to-date about your location’s weather, and even upsell your amenities.
Continue the same practice once the guests have checked out.
#PROTIP: Fetch your guests’ birthdays and anniversaries from your guest database. Send them messages and emails on/before their special occasions. Combine your wishes with some undeniable offers for them.
Your guests will certainly admire these endeavors from your end.
2. Speed up check-ins and check-outs
Would you like to wait at the front desk of a hotel after a long journey? That’s a clear NO.
Similarly, your guests wouldn’t appreciate waiting for too long at the front desk.
Treat the customer like you would want to be treated. Period!
In this era of Alexa and Siri, it would be a shame if you don’t give a chance to your guests to perform self-check-in and checkout.
Hotels these days offer a mobile self-service portal to their guests from where they can perform self-check-in, check-out, request for the extra services, oversee their bills and several things.
The use of such technology benefits hotels in the following ways:
Streamlines check-in and check-outs.
Automates the communication between front desk and guests.
Believe me, most of the complaints on your front desk are for cleanliness. (and it totally ruins your guest experience.)
You can overcome this issue with a simple arrival list. Generate your daily arrival list from your hotel software and ensure the housekeeping of rooms beforehand. As per the total arrivals, arrange the staff shifts and make them available to serve the arriving guests.
Check whether the electronic appliances in the rooms are in a working condition or not.
This will reduce the number of complaints from the guests and will be an add-on to your hotel guest experience.
4. Be 24X7 available on all platforms
One of the key aspects of the hospitality guest experience is a timeless guest service. You should be on your toes to cater your guests round the clock.
Manage your staffs’ shift in such a way that your front desk is accessible 24X7 for your guests.
You can consider having more than one telephone to respond to your guest inquiries and to manage room service calls.
Above all, the millennials prefer messaging over calls. So, this is a good time to leverage the power of technology through mobile guest self-service portals as mentioned in the second point.
Guests can request for their requirements from their mobile phones, and you can respond to it directly from your hotel management system.
Having such technology is convenient for your guests as well as your staff.
5. Connect with your guests personally
Your guests simply LOVE personalization!
Of course, they don’t exactly know about the term. But yes, they will remember you if you make them feel valued through “personalized” services.
Personalized guest service is a surefire way to improve your guest experience. But, imparting it is a tough nut to crack.
Advanced hotel management systems help you achieve this at a pretty good level. These systems save your guest preferences along with their basic details. Whenever the guests come back, the system remembers this and alerts you to make arrangements accordingly.
Even the smallest things like newspaper, coffee flavors, room view, floor choice; the system keeps a track of all this information.
In such a case, your front desk personnel can greet your guests like this,
“Hi. Mr. Hannes, welcome to Avalanche Resort. We have already kept extra linens and a black coffee as you have requested during our previous stay. Enjoy your stay.”
(*Mr. Hannes goes all smiles*)
This is how you can deliver a personalized guest experience.
You can send your guests personalized SMSes and emails about your ongoing deal, promotions or extra activities. Other than that, if there are any special events, concerts, or workshop to be held, notify about them as well.
These extra efforts enhance your guest experience to another level.
6. Train your staff to be attentive
Your staff is the ultimate point of contact for your guests, so it is essential to train them to deliver a better guest experience. Pay attention to your staffs’ qualities in the following areas:
Around 71% of the people love to hear their own name.
Instruct your staff to welcome their guests by calling out their last name. For instance: “Hi. Welcome, Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs.”
Teach them to be polite in any situation.
If your hotel is to going to welcome international guests, prepare your staff to greet them in their regional language.
#PROTIP: Never address your guests with the room numbers. I repeat NEVER!
Observation is one of the important skills that your staff should have for remarkable guest service.
Let these examples explain you better.
If your staff is checking-in a group of guests who are tired after a long journey, then they should offer them some refreshments.
If there’s a group of young adults or teens, then they should suggest them nearby musical concert or offer coupons of bar and pub.
They should also have the agility to walk around the common areas and interact with your guests by asking about how they’re enjoying their stay.
Your staffs’ appearance and body language has a huge impact on your guests’ experience as well as on your hotel’s reputation.
Make sure your staff is dressed up in neat and pressed uniforms/clothes.
They should have a welcoming body language. (Trust me, it impacts your services a lot.) A timid and lazy body language won’t impress your guests at all.
7. Offer complimentary services and gifts
It is important for you to show the guests that you care and for that, it is important to create emotional triggers.
People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Trust me, offering these small gifts and goodies enrich your hotel customer service.
This is how you can create emotional triggers:
Example 1: Let’s say, a family with kids is staying in one of your rooms. You can put some toys in the room before they check-in. You can also ask if they require babysitting services.
Similarly, for the newly-weds, you can keep a bottle of complimentary champagne.
Example 2: From your arrival list, find the number of guests who are checking out early. You can offer your drop-off facilities to those guests.
In the above case, if some of your guests have taken the continental plan then, you can make arrangements for breakfast before they depart or can ask them if they would like to take the breakfast along with them.
Believe me, these are really small gestures, but it will have a great impact on your hotel guest experience. Your guests will certainly remember these extra efforts and appreciate them.
8. Listen to your guests’ complaints patiently
Listening is of great significance when it comes to guest satisfaction. Be all ears to your guests, when they are requesting, suggesting or complaining.
Whenever you listen to their complaints calmly, they are more receptive to the offered solution.
Active listening helps to avoid any miscommunication. It ensures that the expectation of the guests is clearly understood.
9. Engage with them on social media platforms
At present, social media has become an inseparable part of people’s life. You might have noticed, as soon as the guests have entered your hotel, they’ll instantly post their check-in on Facebook.
And this is followed by taking quick selfies, tagging your hotel in their pictures and other such activities.
Now, your part is to respond to all these activities. It’s the perfect time for you to engage with your guests. Your instant responses will encourage them to post more content and create memories with your hotel on the social media platforms.
Ensure that you like, comment and share this user-generated content and spread it on all your social media platforms.
(Even if it is as small as a star rating! Respond, share and celebrate!)
Thus, impart the best hotel customer service experience and empower your online presence too!
10. Reward your repeat guests
There are a plethora of different accommodations options for your guests. The industry is getting more competitive day by day.
Amidst these 1000s of the other options, if some guests are choosing you, then you should certainly reward them. For that, loyalty programs are an assured way. You can reward your repeat guests as well as attract new guests to enroll in your loyalty programs.
Don’t follow the stereotypical rewards of giving a free stay for a day unless certain any points are collected.
Innovate your loyalty programs and always offer them something of real value such as a free drink on the second visit, late check-out facility on the third visit and other such rewards.